Catalogs: Convenience or Clutter Pile? Now YOU Control the Reins!

catalog-choice.pngTechCrunch reports today that there’s a new free service ready to end your coffee table clutter and green-scene guilt on the catalog front!

Say what? Catalog Choice is a sponsored project of the Ecology Center, endorsed by the NWF (National Wildlife Federation) and the NRDC, (Natural Resources Defense Council).

They’ve got blog badges to spread the word, benefits for the conscious consumer, and eco-solutions galore as a collateral way-station for errant, unwanted duplicates. It seems to be an easy, turnkey solution for paperless peeps to ‘just say no’ to the barrage of brochures. Woohoo! Count me in!

Guess this means I don’t get that 20% off at Bed, Bath & Beyond they pummel me with every other week in hopes of snagging some sales, but hey…small price to pay to save a forest, and a future for our children. (I take solace in the fact that I somehow always leave it in my car when I need it anyway, or it’s expired the day prior, eh?)

Truth is, from the moment your wee one is born, (actually, beforehand at the ob-gyn office!) marketers begin the womb to tomb targeting of kids and parents to glean earnest eyeballs and pitch their products.

Been to the pediatrician lately? We popped in recently for pre-pubescent pamphlets on the HPV vaccine only to find the place brimming with crà¨mes and coupons, formulas, flu meds and diaper discounts. Whoa.

Since when did the doctor’s office become retail central or pharm hubs for brandwashing? (um, and how come I didn’t get any of those freebie finds way back then?)

Actually, this, in itself, is part of the media/marketing conundrum…

What’s a convenience, what’s an intrusion?

What constitutes coins in the pocket and a ‘value-add,’ what’s blatant commercialism and baby baiting?

From a branding standpoint, pediatricians are not only warm leads (vs. cold calls) —they’re sheer ‘gold’ to marketers who know that aligning with the credibility of a name you can trust (your doc!) is right up there with ‘mother knows best’ on the mindshare front.

Ah, and just wait ‘til those catalogs come…

At first, they’re mindless entertainment in the nursing rocker, then they turn into piles of “read when I have a minute to myself” stacks, then the catalogs segue to ‘don’t forget so & so’s birthday’ to-do-lists and finally…they get plopped in the recycle heap of the “too much clutter to handle, can’t find the dog anymore” bin.

Think you’re immune? Heehee. Just you wait, dearie.

Sent your child to a birthday party?

Whammo…the pink palace of Club Libby Lu, cuddly Build A Bear cuties with fashionista garb, or gaming gear from Nintendo and Wii are your new snail mail deluge.

And hey, it’s not even holiday season yet! Wait ‘til the circulars nail you with their interactive smarmy pitchster elves like the Walmart pair I wrote about from last year about this time…egad.

Okay, admittedly, kids love receiving mail from preschool to preteen…(many a wish list has been shared from OTC party faves and craft kits, to glow sticks, lava lamps and PBTeens) but every age and stage is covered ad nauseum and gawd only knows how many trees gave their lives to render same!

I heartily welcome this new entry onto the scene…

Eternal eco-hope reins supreme…hug a child, hug a tree.

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